Report and Reaction: “Mental character” sees Whitecaps battle back for draw with Dallas after difficult week

Report and Reaction: “Mental character” sees Whitecaps battle back for draw with Dallas after difficult week

It’s been a week to remember and a week to forget for Vancouver Whitecaps, but it at least ended on a positive note on Saturday night with Cristian Techera’s stunning free kick giving the ‘Caps a crucial point at home to FC Dallas.

After a difficult week, that saw the excitement of finally opening their new training centre dwarfed by injuries to Christian Bolanos and Kendall Waston while away with Costa Rica, police action taken against two Residency players, and the arrest and suspension of Sheanon Williams, things looked to be continuing their downward spiral for the Whitecaps when Maximiliano Urruti gave the visitors the lead early in the second half.

But thankfully things did indeed come in threes and not fours, and the introduction of Alphonso Davies and a Man of the Match performance from a busy Bug saw the ‘Caps salvage a point with Techera’s 74th minute wonder strike.

The first half saw very little action as both teams took turns moving up and down the pitch at a decent pace, but without creating any real danger.

Unfortunately once either side got into the attacking third it seemed like they were unable to find any space giving away the ball too easily, with Tony Tchani the prime culprit for the ‘Caps.

It was to be a different story to start the second half as the ‘Caps seemed to connect better going forward, but it would the visitors who would strike first when Urruti used Andrew Jacobsen as a screen to slip the ball through the defender’s legs past a diving David Ousted, seven minutes after the restart.

Urruti almost doubled the lead for FC Dallas minutes later but his shot would sail over the bar, as the visitors tried to kill the game off and give Vancouver no time to regroup.

After a couple of near misses, the ‘Caps were able to level the match in the 74th minute when Cristian Techera sent his free kick over the wall and curling away from a flat footed Jesse Gonzalez.

The Whitecaps seemed to be in the ascendency but couldn’t turn their play into a winning goal, and in the closing minutes they seemed happy to clear the ball up the field, and just settle for the point.

With the draw, the Whitecaps have a record of 6-6-2 to remain in fifth place in the Western Conference, four points behind today’s opponents with one game in hand.

Vancouver will now head back on the road as they take on expansion team Minnesota United in the first meeting between the two clubs.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 1 FC Dallas

ATT: 22,120 (sell out)

VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Jake Nerwinski, Tim Parker, Andrew Jacobson, Jordan Harvey; Matías Laba; Cristian Techera, Russell Teibert (Alphonso Davies 59), Tony Tchani, Brek Shea (Bernie Ibini 84); Fredy Montero [Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Cole Seiler, Marcel de Jong, Marco Bustos, Mauro Rosales]

DALLAS: Jesse Gonzalez; Hernan Grana, Matt Hedges, Maynor Figueroa, Atiba Harris; Roland Lamah (Mauro Diaz 68), Kellyn Acosta, Carlos Gruezo, Michael Barrios (Ryan Hollingshead 86); Maximiliano Urruti, Tesho Akindele (Victor Ulloa 87) [Substitutes not used: Chris Seitz; Walker Hume; Carlos Cermeno; Cristian Colman]

REACTION:

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

CARL ROBINSON

Thoughts on the result after a difficult week:

“I just said to the guys in there, it has been a very difficult week …but we had a game of football today, to win, to try to climb up that table. I think the boys responded very well after going a goal down. Credit to them, it’s a real big point for us against a good team. Sometime you forget, they’ve won the conference for the last two years in a row. So we knew it would be a tough test with the players we had missing, but great response, especially after going a goal down.”

On the team this year making comebacks:

“Just a little bit of belief, I think. We work on it. We don’t mean to go a goal down. That happens. I think the first half was pedestrian. Second half, first 15 minutes, I thought we played very well. We played on the front foot. One little error and Maxi [Urruti] scores a very good goal. Then you’re chasing a little bit, but great response. We wanted to try to nick a winner in the end. Dallas, credit to them as well, they were trying to nick a winner. There were chances at both ends, so I think it was a fair result.”

On the past few days taking away from positives:

“Listen, it’s not ideal is it. We’re working with the relevant parties and we’re getting through it. It has been a tough week. You couldn’t write anything about it; it is what it is. We have to deal with it, and we will. Our thoughts are with everyone involved. But I’m here to talk about the game. As you’ve said, there’s been lots of ups and down this week. It’s a week that I’d probably like to try and forget.”

On Techera’s continued good play:

“I think confidence. I think players love confidence. When the manager gives them confidence, they thrive on it. When the supporters give confidence, they thrive on it. When things come off, they try things. Today we were chasing, but I wanted to keep the big on the field because he’s great at set pieces. He can create a goal and score a goal, and he showed [it with] a wonderful strike. He’s done it before and hopefully he’ll do it again. He’s playing with confidence at the moment.

But there were a lot of other very good performances today. AJ stepping in at centre back, Jake [Nerwinski] coming in to play at right back, and Rusty [Teibert] done his job as well for 60 minutes before Alphonso had come on. So I think with all players it’s confidence. Mine and my coaches job is to instill confidence in the players. I want competition for places. Today we were really tested. Brek Shea turned up 20 minutes before the meeting. I didn’t know whether he was going to play, so credit to him. Him and his wife have had a new baby, so congratulations on behalf of everyone here to Brek and his wife.”

On Brek Shea coming from having a baby:

“Anyone who knows Brek knows that he’s very laid back. I’ve heard people say he’s different, well everyone’s different. He told me he had a good night’s sleep, which probably means he had 20 minutes sleep. He literally texted me an hour before my meeting and said ‘I’m a new dad, I’ll be there in half-an-hour. Make sure my name’s on the team sheet.’ So that shows character. He wants to play for this club. We want him to play for this club, and I think if he plays like that, we’ve got a super player.”

BREK SHEA

On the day:

“I was at the hospital all day. I was just hoping that my kid came before I had to leave for the game. Luckily he came within 30 minutes before I had to leave and be here. So it was a great day to have my first son, second kid, and everyone was healthy. I was happy to be part of the game.”

On playing on adrenaline:

“Obviously I wanted to be here and be there at the same time. So now, I’m happy we got a point. The team fought hard against a good team. So excited for that, and excited to go back and be in the hospital all night.”

DAVID OUSTED

On a tough week:

“It’s been a whirlwind. I think everybody’s felt it from everybody at the office and how hard they’ve worked and everybody on the team as well. We talked about today to go in with no excuses, go out and get a job done and do it for this club, but also for the teammate who’s going through a hard time right now. I thought we did that to a certain degree today.”

On the first half:

“I thought there was some sloppiness on the ball. I thought off the ball we did really well. I thought we showed that fight and that character that we talked about this week. I thought on the ball we needed some more quality and that showed and that’s why I think especially the first half was a bit pedestrian. But I’m very happy with this team’s mental character of going out after the week we’ve had.”

On the team’s comebacks this year:

“I think that’s what I’m talking about, that mental character we’ve built on this team. I thought today everybody showed they were willing to step up and do the dirty work today, which was necessary. With everything that’s happened, we kind of knew that that’s what was needed to be done today and getting a point out of this after going one nil down is something we can be happy with.”

On Techera’s goal:

“I say to him that he needs to make one [goal] every game cause he’s got the quality. And today he showed that world-class finishing and that world-class technique he’s got off a free-kick, so I’m expecting one of those every game.”

On the defensive performance with absences:

“I thought they did well. I thought Jake [Nerwinski] was up against some tough competition out there, especially with the speed. I thought he did really, really well. He covered well, he got close to them and did what he needed to do. And we know AJ can play that spot. He’s calm on the ball. He does well of communicating with Timmy and I thought the defence did well today.”

CRISTIAN TECHERA

On his game today and the season so far:

“I’ve said it already before that the team is doing well this season and one goal gives you confidence for another and makes you a bit more comfortable. That’s good too because it also gives confidence to the coach and to teammates.”

On coming back to his 2015 form:

“MLS is a difficult league and the players in the league are very even and the games too. And that’s why we have to take it game by game and that’s where we can’t drop points at home. But I think MLS is a very competitive league and rival teams study us so there are days where we aren’t able to pull off the win. But us, I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

FC DALLAS

OSCAR PAREJA

Thoughts on the match:

“We have to take this point and see the positives that the game brought to us. We know how we performed today and I’m pretty sure the guys are disappointed because they deserved the three points. But at the end of the day it’s normal, what you deserve and what you get. There were some moments when we could have scored a couple more goals. The result was in our hands, and not taking three points. But overall I thought we had a great performance. I like the team a lot today, we made a lot of adjustments today. I have to praise the players for what they did today. There were times when the three points were in our pocket, but this is football and we’ve got to take it, and now respect the opponent in Vancouver. They had three opportunities in the second half especially when they pushed they ended up getting the goal on the free kick. So I have to respect that and humbly take this point.”

On halftime adjustments:

“We had control of the game in the first half. That was the plan, to put the game on our side and just have control of the possession, control the ball and start to create some problems for Vancouver with our forwards. I thought in a few places we did well in those jobs, but we couldn’t score. In the first half we had three clear opportunities to score, and then coming to the half zero-zero was very unfair for Dallas. But we knew the control was going to give us opportunities to get a goal and then we had it when Maxi scored. Then we started to have loose balls here and there and Vancouver started to push and they created that foul. I’ve got to see it again, and they end up scoring that goal.”

On the Techera free kick:

“I thought it wasn’t a free kick, but I’ve got to see it again. I’m telling you what I saw from my place. The referee said it was, and I believe him, he was not contacted but the ref said he was contacted so I have to respect that. On the free kick I thought it was very good execution. Techera put the ball there out of our reach and took advantage of a play that was very isolated from what we were controlling.”

On Davies:

“Davies is a young kid. He has speed, he has pace, and I thought his inclusion in the midfield created some difficulties for us. We had to adjust when he could be turning and clog the middle and avoid him with space. For five to ten minutes he was creating some plays there and I thought he did well.”

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Steve Pandher
Authored by: Steve Pandher

AFTN Soccer Show co-host and Senior Writer

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